Vanessa-Mae To Swap Her Violin For Skis

Vanessa-Mae To Swap Her Violin For Skis

Classical violinist Vanessa-Mae has revealed she is giving up music to focus on qualifying as a skier for the Thai team at the 2014 Winter Olympics.

But the 34-year-old will only take a one-year break from music while she trains for the upcoming Games in Sochi in Russia.

She needs to take part in at least five internationally recognised events by the end of the year to qualify for the giant slalom and possibly the slalom competitions.

She said: "People are surprised when they see me skiing - a classical violinist, Oriental, who has lived in the city all her life.

"But it has been my dream to be a ski bum since I was 14. This is something I am determined to do."

Vanessa-Mae, whose full name is Vanessa-Mae Vanakorn Nicholson, is a British and Thai citizen.

She was born in Singapore to a Chinese mother and a Thai father, but she was brought up in England when her mother remarried a Briton.

"I wanted to compete for Thailand because there is a part of me which I have never celebrated - being Thai," she said.

"My father, like most Thais, has never skied, but he's really excited about me doing this, as is the Thai Olympic Committee."

The violinist rose to fame when she was just 10 years old and became well-known for her unique fusion of classical and pop music.

She has been skiing since the age of four and in 2009 moved to the Swiss ski resort of Zermatt to concentrate on the sport. She plans to compete in her first qualifying event by April.

International Ski Federation spokeswoman Riikka Rakic said Vanessa-Mae is one of five Thai athletes actively registered for Sochi.

All being well she will become only the second Thai to compete at a Winter Olympics.

The first was Prawat Nagvajara, an academic who represented Thailand in cross-country skiing at Salt Lake City in 2002 and at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics.

Vanessa-Mae, who has not released a new album since 2004, plans to return to music after Sochi.

She said: "It's time for a new album but doing this will give me a new perspective. Living my dream of being a ski bum is great, but the best job in the world is being on stage, making music."